WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama‘s re-election campaign has re-released years of his old tax returns in an attempt to pressure the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, to do the same.
Romney has released his tax return for 2010 and an estimate for 2011. The Obama campaign is making an issue of the fact that he hasn’t released more and accusing him of hiding information from the American people.
The Obama campaign posted 12 years of tax returns for Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. All of those records had been released already except for the new 2011 returns.
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The Obama team is trying to draw an unflattering contrast between Romney and his father, former Michigan governor George Romney, who released 12 years’ of tax returns during his 1968 campaign for the presidency.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
President Barack Obama and his family paid more than $160,000 in federal taxes last year on earnings of $789,674, the White House said Friday.
The president’s 2011 federal income tax return shows that about half of the first family’s income is the president’s salary. The rest comes from sales of Obama’s books.
Obama’s effective tax rate is just above 20 percent – lower than many Americans who earn less. He has made tax-rate fairness a campaign issue, arguing that millionaires and other very wealthy people should not pay a smaller share of their incomes in taxes than people who earn much less.
“He believes that people like him should be paying an effective tax rate that is no lower than the rate paid by hard-working, middle-class Americans,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Friday.
The White House did not say exactly what rate Obama thinks would have been fair for him in 2011, but using a calculator posted on the White House web site, more than 56,000 millionaires would have paid taxes at a lower rate.
Obama’s proposed “Buffett Rule” would not have applied to him last year, since he earned less than $1 million.
The plan is named for Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor who has complained that rich people like him pay a smaller share of their income in federal taxes than middle-class taxpayers do. Many wealthy taxpayers earn investment income, which is taxed at 15 percent. Obama has proposed that people earning at least $1 million annually – whether in salary or from investments – should pay at least 30 percent of their incomes in taxes.
The push for the realignment draws renewed attention to the effective tax rate of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, a millionaire who is paying 15.4 percent in federal taxes for 2011 on income mostly derived from investments.